Several things jump out, obviously. Why would any killer lead his victims out here approximately 1.12 miles just to shoot them execution style? Just shoot them in the parking lot. Did he need to feed off their fear for while? In my experience, until the killer has the victim or couple subdued he is allaying their fears. What could he have been telling them as he led them at gunpoint the whole time?
In doing what he did, the killer took enormous risks of both his own car and Knoblingís pickup being sighted; not only sighted but sighted in strange circumstances. After all, it was a known parking area. All accounts say the pickupís driverís side door was open. I find that hard to believe, yet so all the accounts have it. This would leave the interior car light on, and this light could attract attention. The local police checked the lot no doubt, and such a scene would be incriminating. The cop would hang around waiting for the owners of the cars to come out of the refuge. How could the killer take this chance?
The circumstances seemed so unbelievable that the detective on the case, Larry Johnson, speculated that the couple had been killed in Newport News and then their bodies dumped off the James River Bridge. They came ashore at the refuge later. Autopsy said no, however. They were never immersed in water.
Johnsonís very public deduction would seem an exciting clue. It implicitly tells us that there were no footprints around the bodies. This would give us almost supernatural staging. But it seems the rain, searchers and media ruined any prints that must have existed. It must have been so bad that Johnson believed there hadnít been any, and apparently Louis Ford, the jogger, didnít take stock of the situation when he came upon the bodies. Johnson wasnít the original detective, so at least we know from his theory the original detectives didnít see any kind of footprints. They must have been completely destroyed by the rain.
Johnsonís theory also did not explain how the killer got away after he parked their car in the lot, though Johnson seemed to be subtly expressing his belief there was an accomplice with his own car following the killer driving David Knoblingís pickup car.
The murder of David Knobling and Robin Edwards was a strange loversí lane murder. On top of this we can say very little except express the same bewilderment that faced the State detectives. What did the killer go to this risk? There was no reason to connect it with the Thomas/Dowski murder of almost a year before. The only similarity was that Knoblingís wallet was loose in the car. The killer clearly knew the parking lot was a petting spot. But what do the rest of the clues mean? We donít even know when David was shot in the shoulder. According to a Virginia Pilot article it was at the end when he rushed up the embankment in the woods. We must assume his body was at a distance from Robin Edwards or that after shooting David fleeing,. he made Robin come with him and then shot David and then her. But we donít know if the bodies were found near each other. The alternative? He ran and was shot in the back of the shoulder and dropped. It seems unlikely the killer would shoot the girl first. If that is the case, then after he took Knobling down, he shot her execution style and then walked over to David, clenched in pain, and shot him in the back of the head. But, alas, we do not know if this fits since we have no information on the proximity of the bodies to each other.
State Police have released very little, unlike sheriffs and city police, which release much more information in hopes of garnering leads.
The killer not only took the risks that he took, he felt safe in taking the unnecessary risks he took. Did he just walk back to his car, leaving the pickup sitting there, door open, radio on, windshield wipers squeaking back and forth, and the interior light attracting attention? Or did he arrange this afterward?